Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello was my favorite tour. It was family-friendly, which meant it was geared toward children. (Further translation: it wasn’t stuffy and boring.) The house was Jefferson’s design and it took 40 years to construct. For his time, it was state-of-the-art, with the cisterns, ice houses, servant quarters, and indoor bathrooms. Yes, indoor bathrooms.
The bathroom wasn’t posh by today’s standards, but it’s better than trudging through the weather to get to an outhouse. We learned a few fascinating facts about Jefferson: he incorporated some aspects of European living into his home, like placing beds in alcoves; he founded the University of Virginia; he wrote extensively and was quite organized- he even cataloged the seeds in his garden; and he believed plunging his feet into a pan of cold water upon waking each morning was beneficial for circulation. Maybe he was onto something- Jefferson lived to be 83 years old, which was unusual for his time.
After learning more about three early US Presidents, I realize that Washington and Jefferson were wealthier than the average American. Many of our presidents have been wealthy. I guess you have to come from money to be able to pay for the
mudslinging campaigning that goes on to win the presidency. However, as far as I can tell, Washington and Jefferson had money, but they also had integrity (which many modern-day politicians seem to lack.)
Of the three presidents, I most admire Abraham Lincoln. I even watched six hours of documentary about him on the History channel after we got back from vacation. He was a great leader that came from a modest background. His family didn’t have money and his dad pressured him to be a farmer. Lincoln wanted more. Lincoln was more. Nothing in his life came easy, but he didn’t quit. To me, Lincoln embodies what many see as the American Dream: regardless of your background, if you can dream it, you can make it happen.
Do you have a favorite leader (anyone- political, religious or otherwise)? What do you admire about that person?